There are certain life skills everyone needs. Whether that’s how to communicate effectively or how to stay organized, life quickly becomes very difficult without certain everyday skills.
Unfortunately, most of these skills aren’t inherited. They must be taught by parents.
It’s incredibly important to teach your children life skills they can take with them into adulthood. Listed below are six essential skills every child should have along with six unique ways parents can teach them.
Lesson #1: How to Stay on Schedule
An important life skill to master is how to avoid procrastination. Waiting until the last minute to do something not only causes stress, it also increases the chances of making a mistake. Not to mention, many people who procrastinate end up not being able to complete the task on time. Missing deadlines will negatively impact your child’s professional and personal life.
One good way to keep your kids from becoming procrastinators is to teach them how to build a schedule and follow it. Each day, talk to your kids about what’s been planned. What time should they arrive at school? When should they leave the house for basketball practice?
Write down your child’s schedule every day (or have them write it down if they’re old enough) and hand it to them. Make sure they have a way to help them keep track of the time, such as a kids smartwatch. Finally, make it clear that there will be consequences for going off schedule.
For example, what punishment does the teacher give when a child arrives late to school? Detention? Extra homework? It’s important your children understand there are sometimes consequences for everyone — kids and adults — whenever deadlines are missed.
Lesson #2: How to Use Tech Responsibly
In today’s tech-obsessed world, your children will most likely be exposed to all types of gadgets whether you buy them or not. While there’s nothing wrong with your kids using technology, it’s important they know how to navigate tech without becoming addicted to these devices.
According to 2020-21 research, 78% of teens check their devices at least once every hour. Whether that’s checking social media or talking with friends, there’s no denying a majority of teens are glued to their phones. Phone addiction might not seem like a big deal, but it can be dangerous. Social media, in particular, can lead to anxiety, depression, and possibly even suicide.
To make sure your kids adopt a healthy relationship with technology, be careful with the type of tech you expose them to. For example, don’t hand small children or younger teens a phone with unlimited internet access. Instead, purchase a phone specifically designed for kids that offers more security, no social media, and zero internet access. The same goes for other devices.
Lesson #3: How to Stay Organized
Being organized is a life skill not everyone possesses. However, those that don’t wish they did. Being organized reduces stress, increases productivity, and helps you better manage your time. It’s one skill you should teach your kids now so they can benefit from it later in life.
There are small ways you can teach your kids the value of organization skills. One way is to make sure your home is organized. For instance, make sure you have a designated area for your family’s personal belongings, such as jackets and shoes.
It’s especially important to have designated areas for your children’s items. For example, a place to keep their schoolwork, clothes, toys, and so forth. By creating these areas, your kids learn that everything has a place. They start getting accustomed to keeping things organized.
Lesson #4: How to Communicate
Being able to communicate effectively is imperative.
Think about it. Everything we do in life deals with communication in one form or another. Whether that’s talking to a friend, applying for a job, or maintaining a relationship, kids need to learn to communicate effectively and appropriately.
Luckily, children learn best through observation. That’s where you, as a parent, come in. Simply having daily conversations with your children can help them build their communication skills. Make sure you interact daily with all of your kids. Ask them specific questions. Have them tell you about their day in detail. The more you communicate with your kids when they’re younger, the better communicators they’ll become when they’re older.
Lesson #5: How to Be Independent
As a parent, you might feel as though you have to do everything for your kids. From cooking their meals to doing their laundry, you want to take good care of them, of course. Unfortunately, the more you do for your children, the less likely they are to learn to do it for themselves.
Don’t do — teach.
Teach your kids how to cook by having them help in the kitchen. The same goes for when you’re doing other chores such as cleaning or weekly laundry. Make sure your kids are part of the process. That way, they can learn and take over the responsibility once they’re older.
Lesson #6: How to Think Critically
Not only are effective communication skills important, but it’s also vitally important for your kids that they learn how to think critically. Keep in mind that this isn’t a skill your children will master overnight. In fact, it’ll take years of practice for them to acquire the ability to think critically. However, that doesn’t mean you should wait to begin their instruction.
One great way to help your kids build critical thinking skills is through playtime. When children play, even by themselves, they stretch their imaginations by creating a make-believe world. They pretend to be doctors, nurses, firefighters, and so forth. They will often create entire personalities for these characters based on what they know.
For instance, while pretending to be a doctor, your child might pretend that they’re working in a hospital or speaking with a patient. This sort of imaginative activity might sound simple, but it’s this kind of understanding that builds critical thinking. Playtime also represents an opportunity for parents to quietly listen in and understand more about how their child thinks.
Lesson #7: The Importance of Learning
Regardless of age, experience, or temperament, learning is a constant part of life. Whether or not you realize it, you learn something new every single day.
With that said, the learning process becomes more obvious in the life of a child as they’re in school for the first 18 years, more if they go on to college. To make these years easier for everyone, set up a home environment that encourages a lifelong love of learning.
Instead of keeping your kids entertained with television, hand them a book. It helps if they catch you reading books instead of watching TV, too. Consider scheduling consistent playdates with other kids their age so they can sharpen their critical thinking skills. Work on crafts with your kids so they learn how to create.
Don’t forget about games. While you don’t want your children mindlessly playing video games for hours on end, there are educational games they could benefit from. Additionally, you could find or purchase games that foster interactivity with friends and family members.